Mashups and Microformats

MashupCamp starts this week. I jotted down a couple of ideas for discussions.

I have been thinking about Mashups and Microformats for a while. I was happy to find that Anu Nigam proposed a topic for discussion regarding Mashups and Microformats.

So how can mashups and microformats leverage each other?

1. A mashup is a web application that uses Open APIs and content to build a new application. Mashups currently depend on published APIs provided by vendors like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay and others. While this is a good model for kick starting next generation web applications, it is not a very scalable model. We have three APIs for mapping (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) and several APIs for search. It will be nice to have some common abstractions, if not standards. If the vendors don’t get their act together, someone will else will.

2. Microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. They can be used to encode useful information in a web page. Microformats can be either simple, elemental or compound.

3. It makes sense to use microformats, wherever possible, as the data returned by the mashup application servers. If there is an existing micorformat you can use, go ahead and use it. If it does not exist, first look at building a compound microformat from existing elemental ones.

4. If every mashup leverages microformats in some way or builds a new one and adds it to the repository of existing ones both the mashup users and microformat users, benefit.

5. There are other benefits as well. We can develop reusable styles for each microformat thus reducing the development effort of mashups.

6. Microformats may become a components that can be wrapped with behavior and used as mashup components.

By using Microformats, we will not only be building a set of open standard data formats, but also applications that leverage them.

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